Is it worth to buy a standing desk? What do standing desks really help with？
Medical Report in 2011 has revealed that sedentary people have a higher chance of dying of heart disease, and long-time sitting will also increase the probability of sedentary diseases such as spine disease, obesity, diabetes, etc.
In order to improve the work efficiency and retention rate of employees, reduce the number of sick days, and the potential medical expenses in the future, companies pay particular attention to the health of the company's employees and have a variety of employee health plans and standing desk shows a growing trend in the ergonomic furniture market.
And with the COVID-19 pandemic arise, many office workers now have to work-from-home with their trendy standing desk. But still, many people have many concerns about the value of a standing desk. It is worth to buy a standing desk at home? And what do standing desks really help with?
Let’s find out these answers in this article.
The growing trends of standing desks in the ergonomic furniture market
Standing desks have emerged as the fastest-growing employee benefit in U.S. workplaces, according to a June report of 2018 from the Society for Human Resource Management. The group’s annual survey of HR professionals found that 44% said their company this year is either providing or subsidizing the use of standing desks, up from 13 percent in 2013. 53% of the participants in the U.S. Urban Residents Survey believe that electric standing desks can improve work efficiency.
In recent years, Internet giants such as Google, Apple, and Facebook in North America are setting off a craze for desks and chairs based on ergonomic design concepts. Apple CEO Cook said in 2017 when the company opened its new office headquarters, Apple Park, that long-term sitting is like cancer that harms people’s health. They have given 12,000 employees throughout the company to be equipped with 100% electric adjustable desks for office work to protect health and improve work efficiency at the same time. Data analysis software giant Tableau has equipped the company's 1,200 employees with electric standing desks. And even as early as 2013, Facebook had more than 250 employees using electric standing desks, and the concept of healthy office has been there for a long time.
In St. Louis Park in America, an entrepreneur said the extra expense with height-adjustable desks was worth it, especially when it comes to recruiting and retaining millennial workers.
“I think it’s a happier perspective when I’m standing,” said Tim Hoeppner, 56, of Apple Valley.
It’s not known what share of office workers are using sit-to-stand desks. Peter Segar, chief executive of Ergotron, an Eagan-based maker of adjustable furniture, puts the figure at about 2%. Even so, Segar said standing desks constitute the biggest change in office furniture since the dawn of the cubicle in the 1960s.
“Sit-to-stand really does change the way people work,” he said. “They’re more dynamic. They’re up-and-down. I think it’s easier to collaborate with people.”
There’s a growing number of devices that convert a regular desk into a sit-stand workstation. In Minnesota, 58 percent of respondents to the recent Human Resource Management survey said their companies use standing desks. Many are adopting the furniture as they expand into new office spaces or renovate old ones, said Paula Storsteen, director of interiors in Minneapolis-based HGA Architects and Engineers.
What is a standing desk?
So what is a standing desk and how it works?
A standing desk also called a stand-up desk and referred to as a height-adjustable desk, or a sit-stand desk is basically a desk that allows you to stand up comfortably while working. Many modern versions are adjustable so that you can change the height of the desk and alternate between sitting and standing.
The lifting of standing desks mainly depends on the expansion and contraction of the lifting columns of the frame, and the range of its lifting mainly relies on the length，or the numbers of the column. There are generally three types of power for the standing desk to adjust the height, manual-crank, pneumatic, and electric.
What’s the benefits of standing desks that are supported with science？
Physically speaking，using a standing desk may help us live longer, lower blood sugar levels, lower the risk of heart disease, reduce back pain.
Mentally speaking，using a standing desk appears to improve mood and energy levels and even boost productivity.
1. Standing More May Help Us Live Longer
Studies found that there was a close link between increased sitting time and early death. Considering long-time sitting has a strong connection with type 2 diabetes and heart disease, this is not surprising. In fact, a review of 18 studies found that people who spend more time sitting had a 49% higher risk of dying early in their lives than people who spend less sitting.
Another study estimates that reducing the time sitting by 3 hours a day can increase the average life expectancy of Americans by 2 years. Although these observational studies do not prove causality, there is sufficient evidence that standing more can extend our lifespan.
2.Using a Standing Desk May Lower Blood Sugar Levels
Scientific experiments have shown that the more blood glucose levels rise after a meal, the worse to your health. This is especially true for those with insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes.
In a small study of 10 office workers, standing 180 minutes after lunch reduced blood sugar peaks by 43% compared to sitting at the same time. The two groups took the same steps, suggesting that the smaller spike in blood sugar rise was due to standing after a meal, rather than the extra body movements of office workers. Another study involving 23 office workers found that alternating between standing and sitting every 30 minutes reduced the peak blood glucose by an average of 11.1% throughout the working day.
The harmful effects of sitting after a meal may help explain why sedentary time is associated with a 112% higher risk of type 2 diabetes.
3.Spend Some Time Standing In A Day May Lower the Risk of Heart Disease
The idea that standing is good for heart health was first proposed in 1953. One study found that bus conductors who stood all day had a half the risk of heart disease-related deaths compared with colleagues sitting in the driver’s seat. Since then, scientists have gained a deeper understanding of the effects of long-term sitting on heart health. Long-term sitting can increase the risk of heart disease by as much as 147%. There are many harms of living a sedentary lifestyle that even an hour of vigorous exercise can not make up for the negative effects of sitting all day. So there is no doubt that spending some time standing in a day is good for heart health.
4. Standing Working Appears to Reduce Back Pain
Back pain has become one of the most common complaints of office workers sitting all day. To determine whether a standing desk can improve this situation, scientists have conducted multiple studies on employees with chronic back pain. Research reports show that long-term sedentary office workers can relieve their lower back pain by as much as 32% after using a standing desk for a few weeks. Another study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that it took only 4 weeks for working people who use sit and stand desks to reduce their upper back and neck pain by 54%. In addition, after removing the standing desk from the office, back pain will reappear within 2 weeks.
5. Using Standing Desks Appear To Improve Mood and Energy Levels
The use of a standing desk seems to have a positive effect on the overall health of the office population. In a 7-week study, participants using standing desks reported less stress and fatigue than those who sat all day. In addition, 87% of those who use a standing desk said they have increased their work energy throughout the day. But after returning to the original desk, the overall office mood returned to its original level. These findings are consistent with more extensive research on the effect of long-term sitting on mental health, which links sedentary time with increased risk of depression and anxiety.
6.Using Standing Desks May Even Boost Productivity
A common concern about using standing desks is that it hinders daily work tasks, such as typing. Although it may take some time to get used to stand-working after lunch, using standing desks do not seem to have a significant impact on typical work tasks. In a study of 60 young office workers, using standing desks for 4 hours a day did not affect the number of characters they typed per minute or errors of typing. And considering that using standing desks can also improve peoples' moods and energy, it is more likely to increase rather than hinder productivity.
But can I lose weight by using a standing desk?
You will be disappointed with the result. There are findings saying standing could lower our risk of weight gain and obesity because compared to an afternoon of sedentary work, an equal amount of time spent standing has been shown to burn more calories. But if you want to lose weight just by using a standing desk, you have a great chance of ending give up.
This is what researchers published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health tried to explain. They put masks on 74 healthy people, which can measure their oxygen consumption as a reflection of how many calories they burned while doing computer work, watching TV, standing, or walking on a treadmill.
Here’s what they found the benefits of standing desks may bring to weight loss:
While sitting, study subjects consumed 80 calories per hour-about the same as typing or watching TV.
While standing, the number of calories burned by the subject was only slightly higher than when sitting-about 88 calories per hour.
While walking, it burns 210 calories per hour.
In other words, using a standing desk for three hours will burn an additional 24 calories, which is approximately equal to the number of calories in carrots. However, walking for only an hour and a half during lunch breaks may burn an additional 100 calories per day.
So, What do standing desks really help with？
Based on the above research, we can find that when working in the office or at home, the calories we burn of sitting for a long time is almost the same as standing up for the same time. From this point of view, all kinds of bad effects on the body caused by a sedentary lifestyle may be applicable to the effects of long-time standing. Except for the relief of back pain that standing can really help with because the spine has been straightened when we stand.
So, What do standing desks really help with？
The answer is it can help us beat inactivity. The name of “standing desk” seems to remind us to stand all the time, even at work, instead of sitting down. But don’t forget standing desks are also called “height-adjustable desks” that we could always alternate the height of our desk so that we could choose to sit or stand to deal with our work. And that’s the meaning of standing desk-to remind us to alternate our working position from time to time so that we won’t just sitting or standing in the same position for all-day, causing many all different types of pains and diseases.
So in conclusion, a standing desk is worth to invest especially in this pandemic season, considering it can keep your body active even at work and physically may help you live longer, lower blood sugar levels, lower the risk of heart disease, reduce back pain and mentally appears to improve mood and energy levels and even boost productivity.
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